“The relationships you have with players and coaches and everyone is what makes this special,” Gotte said. “To have to have those tough conversations this week was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a coach, but I told the players. ‘You are the defending 5A-Division I sate champions. This is about you guys.’"
BJ Gotte helped build Paetow from the ground up.
He started the Panthers program five years ago and led the young school to steady improvement, culminating in the 2021 Class 5A, Division I state championship.
But Gotte, 42, is leaving Paetow to become the new coach at Class 6A Pearland.
Gotte was approved as the Oilers next football coach on Thursday at a special Pearland Independent School District board of trustees meeting.
“The good thing about it is that the kids have pride in where they’re at,” Gotte said. “It’s just been a really hard week, telling the kids and the coaches where I’m at and what the situation is. The kids are upset and rightfully so, they take pride in their school. When we first started here, that school didn’t exist and there wasn’t this pride for it. It’s been really tough conversations, but I’m proud of the type of pride that they have.”
Gotte has been the head coach at Paetow since the school opened in 2017, starting the schools program and accumulating a record of 35-13 over four varsity seasons.
The Panthers went 15-1 last season, winning a state championship and earning a share of the District 10-5A, Division I championship.
Pearland reached out to Gotte about the job opening despite the fact that Gotte hadn’t applied for it. Gotte met with the people involved and became increasingly interested in the program.
“I was taught at a young age, if anyone ever expresses interest, you need to at least listen, even if you aren’t interested,” Gotte said. “I listened and as the situation developed I grew more interested to the point where I knew that this was a great opportunity for my family long term. It just felt right.”
Gotte played for Katy and helped the Tigers reach the state title game in 1995.
He began his coaching career under Mike Johnston at Katy as assistant offensive line coach and was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator from 2009-2016 under Gary Joseph. He also was an assistant at Deer Park, La Marque and Flower Mound Marcus.
“This place has meant everything to me,” Gotte said. “When I moved back from Dallas, my intention was to raise my kids here and have them graduate from a Katy school. That was our goal. That hasn’t changed, Pearland reminded me a lot of how Katy was back when I was growing up. The opportunity to give my son a chance to grow up in a similar environment is cool. But the only reason I was even in consideration for this job is because of what Katy ISD provided me as a student and a professional.”
Gotte succeeds Ricky Tullos at Pearland, who left for Bryan high school last month. Tullos accumulated a 33-11 record at Pearland over four seasons. Pearland went 7-4 last season, finishing second in District 23-6A before losing 42-35 to Clear Springs in the bi-district round.
“The relationships you have with players and coaches and everyone is what makes this special,” Gotte said. “To have to have those tough conversations this week was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a coach, but I told the players. ‘You are the defending 5A-Division I sate champions. This is about you guys.’ The program is bigger than any one person and any one coach. I told the seniors to rally around each other, whoever gets this opportunity is going to come into a good spot where they will compete at a very high level.’”
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